Simple Solution To Ease Power Crisis

With the much hyped Norochcholai Coal Power Plant breaking down for the 26th time and the hapless public praying to rain Gods on a regular basis which has yielded very little results and with corruption being rife and mismanagement being the order of the day at the Ministry of Power and at CEB, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the two options of overcoming the power crisis that threatens our lifestyle and the development of the country.


Firstly it would be to increase the power generation either with coal, thermal, nuclear, hydro, renewable or solar technology, but it needs to be sustainable and cost effective. Secondly it would be (as you would have rightly guessed) is to save energy. It would be unfair if we lay 100% blame on the authorities. With market forces, nature and the war which has just ended taking a huge toll on our country, we as citizens need to contribute our share as well in developing this isle of ours.

In the backdrop of high level discussions and in the midst of short sighted projects in trying to meet the rising demand for power consumption with no practical or cost effective solution in sight, I thought it is about time I share my two cents worth, hoping a concerned individual or an authority would take serious notice and improvise on a simple Idea.

I am no economist or an electric engineer, but I believe this baby step of introducing this simple energy saving method would be the need of the hour.


Sri Lanka with a student population of 4.2 million and an employed labor force of 8 million could play a vital role in bringing down the cost of power generation. Please take note of the following as approx. figures,


1/ School Going Students

Total no. of school students                                                          -           4,200,000

No. of students who irons their uniform for school                          -           3,500,000

Median wattage of the electric iron (800w – 1800w)                       -           1300 watts

Time taken to complete the ironing task (if not distracted by TV)    -           10 minutes

No. of school days per year                                                         -           180 days


Total power usage per year (3.5 mil * 1.3kw * 1/6 hour * 180 days)-          136,000 MW

2/ Employed Labor Force

Total no. of employed workforce                                                       -           8,000,000

No. of workers who irons their clothes for work                                -           1,500,000

Median wattage of the electric iron (800w – 1800w)                       -           1300 watts

Time taken to complete the ironing task (if not distracted by TV)    -           10 minutes

No. of working days per year                                                             -           250 days


Total power usage per year (1.5 mil * 1.3kw * 1/6 hour * 250 days)-          81,000 MW




Providing wrinkle-free clothes as uniforms for school students as against cotton or any other material that needs ironing and relaxation of the rule of formal attire (clothing that needs ironing) for office workers on Fridays (at least), would bring about,


Savings of power per year (136,000 MW + 16,000 MW)                  -           152,000 MW

Cost of power generation to the CEB (152,000,000 KW * Rs. 23/-)  -           Rs. 3,500,000,000/-


Savings by CEB when NOT giving it to consumers at subsidized

Rate {Rs. 3,500,000,000 - (152,000,000 KW * Rs, 15.45/-)}              -           Rs. 1,150,000,000/-


Cents and sensibility in promoting wrinkle-free clothing

Having lived in the US and being exposed to fewer bureaucratic ways of governance, it is about time the authorities in SL starts having an out-of-the-box approach in crisis management.

By introducing wrinkle-free clothes as an energy saving option, it is important to select the best suitable material that would suit our climate and also that would be durable, cost effective and practical. A number of fabrics don’t need ironing, like Nylon, Polyester (especially the moisture management technology fabriques), Lycra, Rayon, Acrylic, Aramid fibre, Spandex, Goretex, Tyvek, Milk fibre cloth, Ingeo, and Lurex etc. Some cotton blends are also wrinkle free, but only because another synthetic fiber has been added to the natural cotton fiber to make them wrinkle free. My choice would be 100% Polyester with a mixture of Spandex (like the ones found in NIKE stores). It is very comforting to the skin as well and it can double as sports attire during and after school hours. But I leave it to the experts and textile technologists. As for the casual clothing for office workers on Fridays, I would suggest jeans and T shirts where no ironing is needed. I am also yet to understand the wisdom in the age-old practice of forcing students in some schools to wear neck-ties. Let us break free from inept traditions and give importance to contents that which is being taught in schools. Addressing the power crisis that we are faced with today should be far more serious than sticking to what kids are forced to wear all this while!

In a world where time is money, let us also not forget the valuable time saved especially during the busy mornings when no time is wasted standing behind the ironing table.

The writer is an independent political/social activist and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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